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Candlelight Processional Orchestra Musicians Mark and Suzanne Share Inspiring Tips for Student Performers

The Disney Imagination Campus team
by The Disney Imagination Campus team

Happy Holidays from Disney Imagination Campus!

If you have visited Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort during the Holiday Season, you may have had the chance to view the amazing singers and talented instrumentalists performing in the Candlelight Processional.

At EPCOT, as part of the International Festival of the Holidays, each night a celebrity narrator tells the story of Christmas accompanied by a 50-piece live orchestra and massed choir.

Join us, as we speak with two members of the Candlelight Orchestra as they share some of the magic of being a Disney performer and provide advice for students starting out in the performing arts.

Suzanne Vascik: Bassist

I started in music performance playing the cello when I was really little. But then I moved to a new school where they didn’t have an orchestra program.

So, when I was in 11th grade, I noticed that there was a double bass in the corner of a practice room. My teacher was amazing and found a spot for me in the band program even though I didn’t play a band instrument. As a result, I started playing the double bass in the wind ensemble and jazz band.

I started playing in the Candlelight Orchestra in 2007. My favorite part about playing in the Orchestra is hearing all the Guest narrators share the Christmas story in their own unique way.

In addition to playing in the Candlelight Processional, I am also a Teaching Artist for Disney Imagination Campus. I love being a Teaching Artist because it is so rewarding to work with student musicians from all over the world. I have worked with students from Alaska all the way to Puerto Rico and it is just amazing to see how much music education is going on around the country.

To prepare for a performance I usually try to: 1. Make sure my instrument is in tune since that is most important, and 2. Do a lot of different warm-ups just to make sure I am mentally and physically ready to play a two-and-a-half-hour concert or a three-hour rehearsal.

My advice to student performers is to always keep music in your life. Go out and watch as many live performances as you can – whether that is seeing your classmates perform, or professionals perform in concert.

Mark Goldberg: Drummer/Percussionist

When I was young there was never a question of what I wanted to do — I always wanted to be a drummer.

I have been playing drums since I was about two years old. My dad bought me a drum set and I have been playing my whole life in parades and concerts all the way through high school and college. I eventually ended up here in Orlando, Florida working for Walt Disney World as a drummer.

For many years I was in the Walt Disney World Marching Band performing on Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom. During my career, at one point or another, I have played in all four Walt Disney World theme parks. And for the last 25 years, my main role has been playing at EPCOT in the Biergarten Restaurant.

I have been performing in the Candlelight Processional for over 30-35 years. I love performing in this show because the production elements are just incredible – from the lights to the beautiful orchestra - it is all just breathtaking.

To be successful as a percussionist, I practice and rehearse for many hours to make sure I am completely 100% ready for any concert or performance I have coming up.

My advice for a young musician is to practice, practice, practice. If you really want to play, just never give up.


Interested in learning more about Disney Imagination Campus Performing Arts? Check out our workshops, where your students can learn theater, vocal, music, and dance techniques from a Disney teaching artist. And, be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter for the latest news and updates!

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